The ratification of six maritime agreements and protocols that support a cleaner marine environment, ship-breaking requirements, international norms for fishing crews, and reaction to oil spill casualties has been accepted by the federal government.
The conventions are the Protocol Relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties (intervention protocol), 1973, the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Fishing Vessel Personnel (STCW-F), 2009, and the Protocol on Limitation of Liabilities for Maritime Claims, 1996.
Others include the 2005 Protocol to the 1988 Protocol to the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf (SUA PROT 2005) and the Protocol to the 1974 Athens Convention Relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea.
Nigeria began making preparations to align with the international maritime community in regards to protocols and conventions after receiving authorisation from the Federal Ministry of Transportation through the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
Dr. Bashir Jamoh, Director-General of NIMASA, thanked the Federal Government for the approval and assured business partners of the agency’s unwavering efforts as a designated authority (DA) to bring the benefits of the various instruments closer to local investors, professionals, and all stakeholders in Nigeria.
The Hong Kong Convention, according to Jamoh, is designed to ensure that ships are recycled safely and without endangering the environment or endangering human health.
He described STCW-F as a treaty that, while taking into account the special characteristics of the fishing industry and its working environment, establishes certification and minimal training requirements for crews of seagoing fishing vessels. Its goals are to promote the safety of life at sea and the preservation of the marine environment.
Jamoh continued by saying that Nigeria would act on the high seas in accordance with the International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties in order to prevent, mitigate, or eliminate a grave and immediate threat to Nigeria’s coastline or related interests.
Regarding the Convention of Limitation of Liability of Maritime Claims, Jamoh stated that it would establish an unbreakable system of limiting liability where shipowners and sailors could reduce their liability, unless it could be demonstrated that a loss was sustained as a result of their act, omission, or commission with the intent to cause loss or recklessly and with knowledge that such a loss would likely occur.
According to Jamoh, the Athens Convention established a system of accountability for injuries sustained by passengers carried on a seagoing vessel. In the event that the carrier is found to be at fault, it makes the carrier responsible for any loss or damage incurred by passengers.
He pointed out that the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf (SUA PROT) will lead to better security of oil platforms and sanction threats against such facilities, which are essential to the nation’s economic foundation.